There is a vast array of tires on the market that you can choose from, which can make it incredibly difficult to ensure that you get a quality set. However, most of us can agree that it is one of the most vital equipment parts of a motorbike. When you shop for tires, you will need to ask yourself how long you want those tires to last and the type of riding that you plan to do on them. Typically, stickier tires handle better, and if you’re an aggressive rider, you will need grip. However, if you’re shopping for longevity, your tires aren’t as sticky. So, there’s a trade-off that you need to make and how you ride should help you determine which way to go.
When we talk about sticky tires, what we’re talking about is the tire’s compound. The rubber found in the wall of the tire will dictate how long the tire lasts. If the compound is softer (bias-ply tires), then it is sticky and will need to be replaced sooner. If the compound is hard (radial tires), the tire will last longer, but it won’t have that same sticky grip.
If you enjoy cruising, then a hard compound is more than adequate for your needs. You won’t be riding hard and fast so you can enjoy a longer lifespan. When it comes to sports bikes, it’s easy – you want to have a good handle on your bike, so a soft compound is the way forward.
You shouldn’t allow the price of a tire to sway your decision. You should choose your tire based on the style of your bike and how you ride. There are only two, so it’s even more important that you maintain them. A blowout on your car can be scary, now imagine that on a bike when you only have two wheels. That’s why you should never go cheap on your tires.
There are four accepted types of tires; the designations are as follows – dirt, cruiser, ADV, and street. Choosing the type of tire you need is probably the easiest part. It doesn’t get complicated until you get into specifics like the speed rating, the brand, and compound chatter.
To get the size right, you will need to be able to read the information found on the side of the tire. This might be in metric, alphanumeric or standard inch. These are the three methods that manufacturers rely on. However, alphanumeric is not used often and neither is the standard inch. These days, the majority of tires feature the metric method.
There are five components to consider here. The section width, which is the three-digit number indicating the tread width. The aspect ratio, which is the two-digit number that indicates what percentage the width is of the height. A higher number indicates a taller tire. The diameter is recorded in inches. The load rating is a code that will explain how much weight a tire was designed to take. The speed rating will tell you how fast a tire is designed to run when it has been inflated properly.
Ultimately, the manufacturer will recommend tires for your specific motorbike, and you can use your personal riding style and other information to complete your decision.